* Posts by Keith Oldham

144 publicly visible posts • joined 26 Jan 2009


Bill Gates goes (mini) nuclear

Keith Oldham

Re : point

Should have been "Global warming isn't driven DIRECTLY by man-made energy generation." Of course any generation that involves carbon dioxide production may well drive global warming

Keith Oldham

Re : point

Why is more generation bad ?

Global warming isn't driven by man-made energy generation. All the man-made generation is SWAMPED by solar radiation - it's about 70000 times the electricity generation on the planet. Total solar radiation striking the earth is about 5E24J /year which dwarfs man-made generation. The total output of the sun is 10 orders of magnitude greater than the radiation arriving on earth and that's a little star in a quiet backwater. So I don't think humans are contributing to the eventual heat death of the universe in a meaningful way.

Keith Oldham

Re : Clean but....

Sorry to point out that "we" will all succumb to the heat-death of the universe anyway

Microsoft, 'open' data, and the curse of open source

Keith Oldham

Re : Seriously?

"Did I read that right?"

You did not!

Windows Phone 7: Microsoft's exercise in self restraint

Keith Oldham

Re : You know, there used to be computers for advanced users once

There still are - they run Linux or FreeBSD

LHC boffins crank beams to 3.5 TeV redline

Keith Oldham

Re : that was meant as a compliment

At ~4 moles/kg the energy from 77kg TNT will be ~350 MJ which fits with the kinetic energy for the carrier and the LHC beam energy at 7TeV

Keith Oldham

Re : 7 TeV not going to budge a navy carrier

Indeed one proton with an energy of 7TeV would not move much

362 MJ is the BEAM energy ( according to CERN) at 7TeV which fits with the energy of the ship

But the beam has 2088 bunches of protons, each bunch consisting of 1.15E11 protons - each PROTON has 7TeV

Nerd alert: First Lucid Lynx Ubuntu beta fun

Keith Oldham

Re : Bollox

Never heard such rubbish - and that's saying something on The Register.

Firefox works fine even with Flash

VLC and other videoviewers - fine

mp3 - fine

Stability - rock solid (my fileserver - 3 months and that's only because of a kernel update)

Mind I'm using OpenSUSE

Keith Oldham

Re : Alpha Beta Soup

Have you tried the KDE desktop instead of Gnome ?

OpenSUSE or Kubuntu if you prefer to stick with Ubuntu

One in four UK schoolkids admits hacking

Keith Oldham

Re : Makes me feel old too!

When we got our first Apple II in the lab I wrote a little program that showed the usual prompt ( ] I think), anyone that then typed in anything got the message "B*gger Off !" which remained for ~5 seconds, the program was then deleted and the normal prompt returned.

Google Apps punts kill-Microsoft-Exchange-now tool

Keith Oldham

Re : Really?

So ?

For the vast majority the slightly-reduced functionality will be more than offset by the zero cost. Given that OpenOffice will read more formats than Office, write PDFs it suits many people who don't need to be forced to use Office by corporate dictat.

I've built a fileserver for (much) less than the cost of Office.

If you want to use it then pay up just don't ruin it for others who can try OpenOffice without laying out any cash and may never need to.

I speak as someone who used Excel every day for years in a corporate scientific environment, often dealing with data set sizes that Excel couldn't handle.

Keith Oldham

Re : err

OpenOffice WILL fulfill many peoples requirements - if you think it unsuitable for you then pay up. Excel may suit most people especially if they never try OpenOffice.

Hidden Windows 7 costs worry upgraders

Keith Oldham

Re : Making the leap

Go for it ! - nothing to lose but your chains

Try a few distros though - I use OpenSUSE 11.2 - I've installed on 5 systems without any kind of problem. I'd recommend Edimax if you need WiFi PCI - ~£12 from DABS -worked out of the box.

Facebook warns over password reset scam

Keith Oldham

Re : exe's

Thunderbird doesn't allow execution of binaries. All it does is issue a warning and offer to save. Even if you try and 'Open' from the e-mail attachment.

That's on Linux mind - wouldn't know about Windows

ATI Graphic cards turbo charge password recovery

Keith Oldham

Re : Bigmouth strikes again

Care to explain ?

Do you have access to the one machine on my network that runs the program?

Do you know the name of the program or which user is allowed to run it ?

Do you know the password to allow the program to run?

Do you know the passphrases and what purpose they are intended for ?

Do you know the algorithm ?

Do you know ANYTHING?

Keith Oldham

Re : Soooo

I think a hash derived from a 256 bit salt and a 'random' 20 digit password with upper/lowercase, numbers and symbols might take quite a time to crack.

Keith Oldham

Re : Soooo

And, no I don't write the 20 digit password down. I use a passphrase and a little (root & password protected) C program to scramble/shift/add to produce a password like : -


'The LHC will implode the Moon or PUT OUT THE SUN'

Keith Oldham

Re : Dan Brown

Are you sure about Dan Brown ? He seems to give an extremely lucid and well-reasoned account of all sorts of contemporary events.

Keith Oldham

Re : The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

I assume (without calculation) that the 1.9cm is the diameter of the event horizon.

Keith Oldham

Re : Black Holes

And indeed black holes are predicted to 'evaporate' emitting Hawkin radiation -very slowly indeed in the case of massive black holes but rather rapidly for small ones.

Shuttleworth heir opens up on Ubuntu biz

Keith Oldham


Companies like Novatech sell a large range of PCs without any OS. Putting a modern Linux distribution on is easy. The cheaper ATOM based ones are ~£170+VAT without a monitor. Of course you need to factor in the cost of a CD or DVD to write the Linux download onto !


Keith Oldham

Re PR crap-ola

Well I've got a fileserver, 3 workstations and a netbook that have never had Windows anywhere near them.

Build the desktops/servers yourself - it's easy.

Not Ubuntu mainly though - mostly OpenSUSE + EEEbuntu on the netbook

SSD tools crack passwords 100 times faster

Keith Oldham

Re : Presumably

I'm not by any stretch any kind of expert about this and I guess you should do some research but for what it's worth ..

Most Unix-like OS now use a randomly-generated 'salt' string (each time password is created/changed ) and use it as part of the hashing function, storing the salt, along with the hash as the users 'credentials'. This essentially forces the cracker to generate another rainbow table set for every permutation generated by the salt - so for a 256-bit salt - that means 2^256 rainbow tables of 80GB or whatever need to be pre-computed OR a specific table needs to be generated for every individual password

Not sure about Windows - I don't have anything to do with it anymore. But I don't think salting was used pre-Vista

Hope this helps

Trojan armed with hardware-based anti-piracy control

Keith Oldham

Re : Huh?

Oddly enough I have read the article and the related links and Leo is correct. This is about a Windows trojan variant - nothing to do with Mac OSX or Linux or Unix or BSDs. Nothing to do with pirating anything other than the (protected) trojan.

Leo did say "(maybe not for ever, but for now)"

Keith Oldham

Re : ah,but

"by the way there is no need to bot linux, just use the command line, linux does it all for you."

Explain !

Ford preps anti-hacking tech for in-car WiFi

Keith Oldham

Blue windscreen of death ?

That is all

Mozilla births first Thunderbird 3.1 beta

Keith Oldham


Do you mean "Unfortunately Outlook will do this"

Ex-Sun boss punts Apple-Microsoft-world 'tried to sue me' missive

Keith Oldham

Re : Open Office

Can you justify this statement ?

Just because something resembles another & performs similar functions isn't grounds for patents. ( At least not in sensible parts of the world). Indeed many complaints about OpenOffice is that it doesn't behave/look exactly like Office.

I and every other pharma. chemist have patented drugs that treat diseases in EXACTLY the same way as other companies compounds - perfectly legit. The market decides which to use depending on other factors such as efficacy, price, dose, side-effects etc.

Have you compared the source-codes ? -thought not

Whatever happened to the email app?

Keith Oldham

Re : wow... The Bat!... Telnet... Pine... sighhhh...

PLEASE update your wish. Use SSH not telnet !

Keith Oldham

Is it just me ?

Lots of complaints about spam killing e-mail in the comments above. I think it depends on your ISP (Plusnet in our case ) These days our ISP's system does a great job removing essentially all spam.

For the record we've used Thunderbird for years + web-based access when traveling - and yes we've had our own domain name for years.

Vodafone ships Mariposa-infected HTC Magic

Keith Oldham

Re : Umm..

Looks like the phone is just the vector for loading a Windows PC with the malware. There's an autorun.inf involved ( see link in article)

Patchy Windows patching leaves users insecure

Keith Oldham

"My guess is that the latest botnet bust didn't find all that many Linux boxes.."

I'd be amazed if there were ANY!

As for desktop count here it's Linux:6 Windows:0

Ubuntu Lucid Lynx changes its spots

Keith Oldham

Re : could not, in all conscience suggest a Linux build for a stable desktop, given my experience..

Must be a VERY limited experience.

I've used SuSE & OpenSUSE for ~10 years without any problem with the (usually KDE) desktop.

Does everything I want either better than Windows, as well as Windows or at least adequately.

That would include :-

File& print serving to Windows & Linux boxes



Google Earth

Web-page generation

C & C++ compiling + almost any programming language you could require.


Video editing

RAW digital photo processing

Panoramic photo processing

TV viewing /recording

SSH access to home server

Remote access to my wife's school

Microcontroller programming (PIC) via WINE

If you need games or really feel that you must have Windows fair enough. But the ignorant or malicious comments of others that Linux NEEDS a CLI for installation or routine use or even that you NEED to compile programs to use it needs refuting at every opportunity.

Just get a LiveCD and try it !

NASA flying car engineer shoots down Reg coverage

Keith Oldham

Re : Fail

No, no ... Navigation will be under software control ... there's an app for that.

Or FAR more worryingly .. a Redmond 'solution'.

Intel pitches Atom storage platform

Keith Oldham

Re : Re: been there, done that

My dual core setup of motherboard/cpu, 2G DDR2, DVD, 500G Hitachi drive & small power supply cost ~£200 - I did put it in an old ATX case - I don't care what it looks like - it's a server

Keith Oldham

Me too

I've had a home-built dual-core Atom running OpenSUSE 64 bit as a file/print/whatever server since Feb09. Handles my network loads really well and just uses a trickle of power.

Microsoft embraces another Linux company

Keith Oldham

Re : filesystems

If it's a fileserver it doesn't NEED to support Windows filesystems. My SUSE fileserver uses ext3 but worked fine (*) with Windows boxes using Samba. I guess if you wanted to plug a FAT USB drive in that might be a different matter

* I'm an all Linux operation now

Linux kernel R&D worth over 1bn euros

Keith Oldham

Re : Huh? →

Some might be impressed by your stupid ( and offensive ) reasons but they seem unlikely to have affected the choice of GNU/Linux for the bulk of supercomputer systems, the bulk of internet servers, all those the embedded systems and the more intelligent desktop user.

I'm just a little puzzled that you seem so threatened by an OS that you both despise and yet clearly don't understand.

Stick with Windows - you clearly deserve it

Large Hadron Collider to fire up again next Thursday

Keith Oldham

Re : The Higgs Field..

Look forward to reading the paper in a peer-reviewed journal.

I'm afraid the Register doesn''t count

Keith Oldham

Re : The Higgs Boson...

What's the Higgs Boson got to do with gravity (directly) ???

The Higgs Boson is not the boson of gravity - the Higgs field ( and so by quantum mechanics has an equ. particle) is supposed to give particles mass

Their mass distorts spacetime.

Open source - the once and future dream

Keith Oldham

Re : What the fuck?

It does explain in the linked article that 11000 are added, 5500 removed and 2200 altered and that core kernel code is only ~5%. Most of the new code is for drivers/processors.

It goes quite a long way to explain how each new release works on more and more hardware to the point where installing a modern distribution is now trivial on desktops, at least

Attack code for Firefox zero-day goes wild, says researcher

Keith Oldham

Re : rm -rf ~

I may be paranoid but I don't run FF or other browsers on my own account - the slight inconvenience of using a password to start the browser is more than compensated by the security of running in an empty account.

Assuming I ran the browser on my own account ) the daily backup of the home directories would provide a safety net.

Microsoft finally debuts Euro-choose-a-browser screen

Keith Oldham

Re : Funny that

Agree entirely - I've only used FF for years - gave up MS years ago so no option ( and certainly no desire ) for IE. I can't remember a site that needs IE .

Note to Captain Kirk: Warp speed will kill you

Keith Oldham

Re : Factual errors

Sorry to be a killjoy but he's a physicist by training and has worked on gravitational wave detection.

He's not a medic at all but if you want a Trekkie-like reference he developed the "Spin Warp" imaging method for MRI scanning

He's visiting professor of Radiology presumably with an emphasis on MRI scanning

Keith Oldham

Re : One more reason FTL travel is not currently possible possible.

"Even though there is a point at which acceleration causes the human body to cease working, that point occurs when you are travelling a lot faster than 20 mph."

This so much fun but what has speed/velocity to do with acceleration. ?

Acceleration between 0 and 5 mph would kill you if it were sufficiently rapid. Don't take my word for it just drop a fine wine glass onto concrete from ~20 cm

MS botches Office 2010 prices, hikes Professional by £30

Keith Oldham

Re : MS Office >> openoffice

Bol??cks !

I've used huge, complex Excel spreadsheets in a scientific environment - many so large, that Excel couldn't cope and I had to shift to JMP. Of course OO isn't as fast or quite as capable BUT for most users it's good enough given that it's FREE and runs on Linux as well. If you really need it ( or think you do) spend the money - but don't patronize - OO will run really complex sheets within its limits which are considerable. You will not build a cogent argument by exaggerating !

Keith Oldham

Re : Anyone tried mozilla thunderbird?

I've never used anything else ( for home use - I used Exchange in a corporate life) so I can't give you pro/con. I only use it as an e-mail client (occ. on Windows -although no more, always on Linux) I've got no complaints or niggles.

PHPers prefer Windows desktop to Linux

Keith Oldham

Re : meh →

"Also there is no version of Chrome for linux as far as I know."

Download from http://www.google.com/chrome?platform=linux - it's beta though.

Keith Oldham

Re : Pretty much what I thought.

I think you'll find all over the planet desktop Linux is being used for real work and has been for quite a while - certainly I was using a dual Xeon workstation running RH Linux for protein modeling, visualization and dynamics as well as data processing years ago along with many other scientist, engineers and academics. The many computational chemists in the organization I worked for only used Windows for the corporate stuff.

Keith Oldham

Is it a laptop thing ?

It would be interesting to know, Although installation of a modern Linux distribution is easy on most desktops it can be somewhat more difficult on laptops unless a little research is done first - esp. choosing laptops with wireless chipsets that work "out of the box".

Or is it that the developers are constrained by corporate Office/Exchange etc. ?